Is it Sunday, the day of rest?

Each morning, I have to look at my phone to see what day of the week it is. They all run together now. It was somewhat of a problem after I retired, but there were a few regular things we did that helped keep them straight.

We woke to a spring frost. It was pretty, but I forgot to cover the begonias last night and they don’t look happy today.

It started warming up quickly and I took string out to make trellis for the peas before they start sprawling on the ground.

After lunch, I tackled a project that has been sitting around for months. When I first started Rev War reenactment, I purchased a skirt/petticoat and some of the other components of the outfit online, mostly from Etsy. The petticoat was a navy and oatmeal checkered patterns and after aligning myself with the local militia group, learned that the pattern was not period appropriate and cotton wasn’t widely used, so I made myself a navy linen one. The checkered one hung over the back of my sewing chair with the plan of using the yards and yards of fabric to make some valences for some of the windows where we had removed the stained and nasty Roman shades. I finally took the time to cut the fabric and sew the seams. I had two pressure rods that fit the windows in question and a job done. I should have lined them, but had no appropriate lining fabric. When it is safe to be out and about again, I will buy some unbleached muslin and add a lining layer.

There is enough left to make a valence for the double living room window as well, but I want to put drapes up first, so the old Roman Shades will hang until they can be purchased and a double rod bought.

Since I had the sewing machine out and still have plenty of the quilting cotton I made masks from, I tackled the fitted kind with a filter pocket. The pleated kind I made first, with elastic loops, pulls my hearing aid out and fogs my glasses. I tried making one of the ribbon with buttons on both ends to hold it on, but it still caused the same issue. The one I made today is tied on with a strip that runs though casings on both edges. I used one long piece of grosgrain ribbon stitched lengthwise in half for the ties.

Using a folded pipe cleaner in the nose bridge pocket, it can be molded enough to not cause much fogging and if I put my long hair up in a high twist, the tie is held high enough to not pull out my hearing aid. Win win. There is still a lot of that fabric, so I think a second one will be made so there is one to wear when one is in the wash. I learned from my mistakes on this one, so a second one should be a breeze.

Return to Simpler Times

I have blogged in the past about being a bit hippy in the sense that I have always had a garden, been a recycler before it was popular or required, used up/reused before throwing away. Long before I met my husband, I cooked from scratch, baked my own bread, and was vegetarian by choice, though that aspect is more limited as he is a definite omnivore and cooking two different meals is too onerous. We do have meatless meals occasionally, I do make sides such as macaroni and cheese or au gratin potatoes that I can eat as my meal and he as a side. During my earlier days of omitting meat from my diet, I read several books, bought a couple. Only one of them has stayed in my library, a nutrition guideline and recipe book full of vital information and anecdotes of the lifestyle changes of the authors. The book is “Laurel’s Kitchen.”

My copy is 2 years older than our marriage, 4 years older than my eldest child, well worn, well loved, and cherished. Though I rarely refer to a recipe anymore in my cooking, it is still pulled off the shelf to check my intuition when returning to cooking something I have let lapse over time.

One of those processes that lapsed after the kids were grown and less bread consumed, was bread baking. By that time, artisan loaves and whole grain breads could be purchased in the grocer or at the Farmers’ Markets. With us at home and away from others, bread baking has returned to my routine. The internet has a wealth of recipes and instructions on “how to” but I love my old book. Yesterday, I blogged that with our Natural Foods Store doing email orders and no touch curbside delivery, I bought the fixings for a meatless Mediterranean dinner, but needed to make Pita. When I first moved into this home with hubby still working across the state, Son 1 and his family were living here with me and still doing interior work on the house. They were very amenable to meatless meals and both very good cooks, so we would buy Dolmas and olives, they would make hummus and tabbouleh, and I would make Pita bread and we would feast. I haven’t made Pita in at least a dozen years, but knew that when I made them then, the recipe did not come from the internet, but from my beloved book. This morning, I pulled it back off the shelf to refresh my memory. The recipe in the book makes 24 Pitas, or if half of the dough is formed into a loaf, a dozen Pitas and a loaf of bread. I may go for half a dozen Pitas, a loaf of bread and half a dozen sandwich rolls.

When I was making bread for our growing family, hubby bought me a giant pottery bowl.

I would mix up 3 or 4 loaves of bread, beating the dough with a large wooden spoon and breaking a few of them over the years as the dough got stiff. Kneading in more flour in the bowl by hand until the dough was not sticky and turning it on a floured board or counter to finish kneading it. At a craft fair at some point, hubby bought me a wooden dough bowl.

The final kneading and rising could be done in the bowl. It was all done by hand, but alas, a wrist break, wrist surgery, and arthritis make if nearly impossible to do the entire process by hand anymore. I can do the artisan type breads, but that dough doesn’t make good rolls or Pita so we bought me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

It is not a commercial grade one and it struggles toward the end of kneading dough, so it gets the bread started and then I turn it into the wooden dough bowl to do the final kneading and proofing. The dough is proofing covered in that precious wooden dough bowl as I write. Later it will be divided and prepared for baking the bread for dinner and meals later in the week. A slow down in time, a return to a simpler life. There is some good come from this staying at home.

Today’s Walk

Today was a glorious spring day. Tomorrow is wet and cooler again, then we warm up to spring for a while. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, I transplanted the Calendula seedlings, some in the bed with the volunteers, some in a big pot on the deck. Also the Echinachea was given a partial bed and some in the same big pot. A few sprinkles of marigold seed were added to the pot and one of the flower beds. I want flowers, lots of flowers to brighten our days. It is still way too early to move the tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos out to the garden, but the spinach starts were added to one of the half barrels that have lettuce, radishes, and Chinese cabbages in them. There are a few other spinach plants that were direct seeded in one of the beds with peas, but most of them became victims of the hens the first time they got in the garden.

Since dinner out isn’t an option anymore and since Eat’s Natural Food Store, one of my favorite local businesses, is providing email ordering and curbside pick up, I resupplied on Yogurt, nuts, herbs, and a selection of Mediterranean goodies like olives, hummus, Dolmas, and Feta. Tomorrow I will make Pita bread and we will have Greek salads and hummus with Pita for dinner. Since I don’t have to cook any of it except the Pita, it is almost like dinner out.

This evening, before the rain and wind resume, I wandered our hills again. Each adventure out has something new to see. I could hear one of the neighbor’s cows bawling well away from the road and spotted 3 of the spring calves trotting in her direction. I didn’t get a photo of them today. The recent wind had brought down a dead limb that the woodpeckers had really worked over.

When we had our perk test done for our septic during pre-construction, the soil scientist told us that we had really good soil because we were on the leading edge of an alluvial field from the last ice age. When you walk our road, you can see evidence of it in the huge scattered, eroded rocks.

On our way home from the grocery pick up, we drove across the top of our field to see how the grass for hay is coming along. It is so emerald green now. It will sprout seed heads which will brown off before it is mowed and it will either green up again if we have rain or remain brown for the rest of the summer. This is looking west back toward the orchard, coop, and house.

One of the bluebirds was visiting the feeders this evening.

I was hopeful that they got one of the nesting boxes by the garden, but it appears that both are occupied by tree swallows again. On the hillside in the distance, you can see the trees beginning to leaf out, and the very green shrub in the rock pile directly behind the bluebird is Autumn Olive. It is an invasive shrub that was deliberately introduced to the state as an ornamental shrub for landscaping. You can’t kill it my cutting it down, it has to be pulled up by the roots. On my way out to walk, I started the tractor for the first time this spring. If I can get a pin for the hitch, I will use a long piece of chain that we have to wrap around some of them and pull them up this spring. They can be burned after they dry and the hay has been mowed.

Whenever we go out away from home, not often recently, but I always carry with me a small knitting project or a drop spindle. My favorite one to take is one of my newer ones, the diminutive 2″ spindle in my last post. Because it is so small and fragile, I worry about breaking it, and today, I emptied a small 3″ diameter by 3″ tall round tin that had tea in it. It is the perfect size to fit the spindle and a couple ounces of fiber and is protected in my bag in the car.

My spring walks are improving my stamina. The road is not flat and the hills are not gentle. When I started earlier this spring, I would have to stop and catch my breath a couple times. I still slow down on the steepest part on the way back home, but I no longer stop.

Until we visit again. Goodnight from the mountains.